By Steve Gunn
CARSON CITY, Nev. — A District Court judge has delivered a setback to an effort to create a new business tax in Nevada to help fund public education.
The Nevada State Education Association, the state largest teachers union, has been working with other labor groups to circulate a petition to create the new tax through a statewide ballot initiative in 2014.
The union wants to impose a two percent tax on every Nevada business that makes more than $1 million in total revenue within a year, with the proceeds going to K-12 schools.
Their effort has been challenged by the Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs, which filed a lawsuit claiming that the petition language lacks detail and clarity.
District Court Judge James Wilson agreed Tuesday, ruling the petition invalid because its language is “incomplete, deceptive,” and “misleading,” according to a report published by the Las Vegas Sun.
Wilson determined that under the current wording on the petitions, the state could use the money raised from the new tax for education, then use current education dollars for other purposes.
“The effect of the initiative … is the creation of a tax that will allow the legislature to increase spending for any lawful purpose, including non-educational purposes,” Wilson said. “This effect is something those being asked to sign the petition should know.”
Wilson also noted that the petition failed to explain how much revenue would be raised for schools, the fact that the tax would apply to companies operating at a loss, and that millions of dollars of the revenue would go to the state Department of Taxation to administer collection of the tax.
We think the petition should also note that the teachers unions would almost certainly use the collective bargaining process to claim the biggest share of the new tax revenue for increased salaries and more expensive benefits. This is not an effort to raise money for schools. It’s an effort to raise money to keep up with runaway labor costs in schools.
The union plans to appeal the decision, according to the news report.